Ivory Latta scored 14 of her 22 points in the third quarter to lead the Tulsa Shock to their first win of the season, 77-59 over the Washington Mystics on Saturday night.
Sheryl Swoopes had 13 points, Kayla Pedersen and Jennifer Lacy added 12 each and rookie Liz Cambage scored 10 for the Shock (1-5). Tulsa, which had its largest margin of victory since moving from Detroit before last season, was off to the worst start in franchise history since opening 0-13 in 2002.
The Shock improved to 1-1 at home eight days after a 93-62 loss to San Antonio.
"We disappointed the fans in our last game," said Latta, who had just two turnovers.
Asked if she was more proud of her 22 points or two turnovers, Latta said: "I'm more proud of the win. Twenty-two is something I had to do to help us win. Two turnovers? I'll take that."
Marissa Coleman scored 12 points — on 4 3-pointers in the first half — Crystal Langhorne had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Karima Christmas added 11 points for the Mystics (1-4), who lost their third straight.
After Nicky Anosike's layup pulled the Mystics to 57-55 with 7:49 left in the fourth quarter, the Shock closed wwith a 20-4 run. Pedersen had seven points during the spurt and Swoopes had six.
"Sheryl's knees dictate how many minutes she can play," Richardson said. "Tonight, she finished strong, as did Pedersen. Of course, Latta had that huge third period."
Swoopes, who played nearly 28 minutes, added: "My (left) knee feels good. The doctors and training staff are doing a good job with it. I knew we could play this well. We've done it in practice. It was just a matter of when we would do it in a game. I kept hoping, wishing, praying it was just a matter of time."
Washington is still without star guard Alana Beard, out with a sprained left foot.
With the Shock trailing 32-26 at halftime, Latta scored the first eight points of the third quarter — on a layup sandwiched between two 3-pointers — over the first 1½ minutes.
Washington tied it on two free throws by Anosike, but Pedersen hit a jumper and Latta made another 3 to put Tulsa up five and the Shock didn't relinquish the lead again. Latta's fourth 3 of the third extended the lead to 44-37 near the midpoint of the quarter.
"I'm very happy," Richardson said. "We had been playing well on the road the last two games. The difference was our starting chemistry. In the first half, we were playing more 1-on-1 basketball.
"In the second half we saw that the cutting game was open and we ran it."
Cambage, who early in the season had trouble completing the scoring play when she was fouled, had three-point plays on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
"I'm happy that I'm finishing," she said. "I guess maybe when Tiff (Tiffany Jackson) wacked me in the head, she knocked some sense into me."